Trick or treat! Halloween may be hazardous to your spiritual health

By Scott Alessi| comments | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
blog Spirituality Young Adults

As children everywhere are getting into their costumes and looking forward to a big haul on the candy front, someone has to try to ruin the fun. This year, it is the Catholic bishops of Poland.

According to a story in the Associated Press, two archbishops are coming down on Halloween for being an anti-Catholic holiday. The AP reports that Archbishop Andrzej Dziega distributed a letter saying Halloween runs the risk of “destroying the spiritual life” because "the 'tricks' hide 'diabolical attitudes' by encouraging readiness to harm the others." Catholics should steer clear of the holiday, he warns. Warsaw Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz added his own message that Halloween promotes the “occult and magic" and goes against the teachings of the church.

As Angelo Stagnaro wrote in a classic U.S. Catholic Sounding Board, "Halloween’s supposed occult connections are superficial and misleading. Halloween is steeped in Catholic theology and piety, and besides, it’s just so much fun."

Do some people take their celebration of the holiday a little far? Sure, but that's true with a lot of holidays. When it comes to the kids dressing up as their favorite superhero or fictional character and hoping to get a sugar rush, the occult really doesn't enter the picture.

I for one have many fond memories of Halloween as a child, and even when I got to dress up as scary monsters I don't think it ever damaged my spiritual life or made me adopt "diabolical attitudes." And I greatly look forward to the day when my own daughter is old enough to dress up and go door to door around our neighborhood in a few years.

So don't be worried about the destruction of your Catholic faith if you go out and have some Halloween fun today. Just make sure you still make it to church for All Saints Day tomorrow.